David Natcher, professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources at USask. (Photo: Submitted)

USask AgBio researcher David Natcher named UArctic Chair

Professor David Natcher from the University of Saskatchewan (USask) has been appointed as the UArctic Chair in Water, Energy and Food (WEF) Security in the Arctic for the next five years.

Natcher is a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources at USask. Trained in cultural anthropology, Natcher’s research focuses on the social dimensions of water, energy, and food (WEF) insecurity in Arctic regions. He has served as the UArctic Thematic Lead in Northern Food Security since 2016. In addition to this role, he serves as a Canadian representative on the International Arctic Science Committee – Social and Human Working Group and the Arctic’s Council’s (SDWG) Social, Economic, and Cultural Expert Group (SECEG).

During his term as a UArctic Chair, Natcher will examine the distinct social, cultural, and environmental contexts that produce WEF insecurities in the Arctic. This includes identifying the interactions, synergies, and trade-offs involved in the attainment of WEF-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 2, 6 and 7). The focus on WEF SDGs is particularly warranted in Arctic regions given the prevalence of WEF insecurities experienced by Indigenous and other remote Arctic communities.

“Indigenous peoples in the Arctic are heavily reliant on water, energy and food (WEF) systems to meet their livelihood needs, yet they experience WEF insecurity at disproportionate levels. These inequalities have been made even more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Natcher said. “I hope by improving our understanding of WEF interactions, and how they affect Indigenous livelihoods, we will be in a better position to increase resiliency within water, energy and food systems, while advancing the rights and interests of Indigenous peoples in the Arctic.” 

Natcher said this appointment will facilitate greater collaboration with UArctic colleagues, but also hopes to use the chair to galvanize the considerable expertise that exists at USask. With Global Institutes for Water and Food Security, together with the new program in Community Appropriate Sustainable Energy Security (CASES), USask is uniquely positioned to be a leader in WEF security research.

UArctic Chairs are highly qualified academics who serve as academic drivers in a broad area of relevance to the Arctic. They implement and drive collaborative actions in research and education among UArctic members and Thematic Networks and build partnerships with the broader Arctic community. https://www.uarctic.org/

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